Thursday, January 04, 2007

How Sad! How Unjust!

Instead of minding her own business, a 22-year-old law (!) student travelling in Mexico gets involved in the Oaxaca "cauldron" of troubles, writes Nicolas Bourcier, leading into a series of unpleasant happenings. "Naturally", she says matter-of-factly, she not joins, she "embraces", the movement.
Sarah croise des étudiants venus d'Europe et d'Amérique du Nord. "Pas toujours des militants, souvent des anarchistes", glisse-t-elle. Elle se prend au jeu, embrasse le mouvement, "forcément". Au mois de novembre, elle se trouve au milieu des affrontements avec les forces fédérales.
As I explain in my book, French society has these words and expressions that lead les citoyens into a form of self-hypnosis. Once they hear them (in conversations with friends or acquaintances, on television — they are a staple on the evening news), they go into a form of trance in which they know that they are invariably in the right and they (consequently) don't need to ask whether the description of any given situtation is correct, whether, for example, the militants might be (even theoretically) dishonest, misinformed, or simply retarded. (Words include: lucidité, solidarité, générosité, humanisme, militants.) And they have no reason to do so (to ask such questions), since the words invariably paint a self-serving portrait of them in any given situations, i.e, shows them (the French) as heroes, martyrs, or wise prophets.

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